Sunday, August 29, 2010

And there it was.....

As Jayson's deployment date has grown closer and closer, I have heard more and more of this:

"Oh my gosh!  A whole year??  Will you be ok?"

"That's such a long time.  How are you holding up?"

"Are you guys gonna be ok?"

"Aren't you scared for him to be over there?"

"Oh my God!  What are you gonna do?  How will you survive an entire year of him being gone?"

"I feel so sorry for you."

"Our family will keep you all in our prayers."

"Please let us know what we can do to help.  Call us anytime."

Over and over and over again.....from family, friends, clients, and strangers.

I try not to sound rude or arrogant when I respond and say, "I'll be fine!  The kids may spend much of their time being grounded to their rooms, but......we'll be fine!  This is something that we've spent 13 years waiting for.  THIS is why people join the military.  It's exciting, it's challenging, and it's a once-in-a-lifetime experience for Jayson.  He will grow from it, and, at the same time, the 3 of us here at the house will grow from it, as well.  There is NOTHING WE CAN DO about Jayson leaving, so why stress about it...why worry about it...and why not make the best of it???"

Don't get me wrong, I didn't just come to the conclusion that "we will be fine" at the blink of an eye.  I thought long and hard about the certain challenges that lay ahead for our family.  But no matter how much time I spent searching, I couldn't come up with that "thing" that could make my life truly miserable for the next year.

And then I met Tawnya Farwell.

Tawnya's husband, Chief Warrant Officer Gary Marc Farwell, was killed in February of this year when his UH-60 Blackhawk crashed in Germany during a routine training mission.  Once Tawnya and her 3 children returned from Germany, I had the privilege of helping her with the purchase of a new home.

I knew who she was and what she had been going thru when I signed with her, but I didn't tell her that.  I could see the pure and utter sadness in her eyes, in the way she held her head, and in the way she moved with no hurry.  She was a shell of her former self...having been hollowed-out by the grief and burden that had consumed her for months.  The only thing that glimmered were the tears in her eyes that threatened to spill over. 

This home purchase was bitter-sweet for her.  It was her future.  It would be a great place for her and her three kids.  But it was a future without her husband.  Even the normal, everyday things made this obvious.  Like, how she only has one car now, but the home has parking for several cars.  What will she do with all of that space?  And then there's the process of moving - she has people lined out to help her.  I can't even imagine moving without Jayson, not to mention having no choice but to rely on others to get it done.  Tawnya's life has forever changed.

Shortly after closing for Tawnya, Jayson and I ran the Ogden Marathon.  When looking at the results, I saw a familiar name - Tawnya Farwell.  Small world, huh?

Of course, I analyzed all of the reasons why she ran. (That's what I do -- I analyze things.)  Was running something that she did before her husband died?  Or was running a new thing that was helping her cope?  Did she run because her husband used to run?  Or was running simply more painful than the grief?  Did running help her?

I actually considered getting in touch with her.  But, in the end, I decided that no matter what her reasons for running were, they were certainly none of my business.

Fast forward 3 months...

Last week, Tawnya came into my office for a Notary on some documents.  I knew right away who she was - I remembered her eyes.  After I mentioned the Ogden Marathon, we started talking about running, and I asked her if she was running Pocatello next weekend.  No, Ogden was her last for a while.  It didn't do for her what she had hoped it would.  In fact, she said she was even more depressed after the race than she was before the race.  Wanna know why?

She couldn't call her husband.  She couldn't call and tell him how she had just ran an incredible race.  She couldn't share this with the one person she wanted to share it with. 

And there it was.  I had just discovered the one thing that could make my life truly miserable for the next year.

I certainly understand that my situation is nothing compared to Tawnya's, and I don't ever want to be in her shoes.  However, I completely understood what she was talking about.  It instantly hit home.

I got tears in my eyes and told her that she was making me cry.  She apologized.  (SHE apologized!  Why should SHE apologize??!!)  And we continued to talk, with me pinching my thigh under my desk to keep from bawling like a baby.

Tawnya still runs, but not for races.  She only runs to stay in shape.  We shared stories about how scary road running can be, especially with those little, old ladies who have a death grip on the steering wheel and refuse to move over.  And both of us wonder how long it will be before someone's side mirror takes us out.

There must be a part of Tawnya that knows running would be good for her soul.  She says she'll consider running another full marathon one day.  She just has to make sure she does it for the right reason.  And, for her sake, I hope she finds that "reason" because it's obviously a huge part of the healing process for her.

THANK YOU, Tawnya, for making me discover that one thing that could break me during the next year.  Discovery is the first step, right?  Maybe now I can begin to figure out a way to lessen the pain of not being able to share my life with Jayson.  I will make adjustments and find ways to get around this hurdle.  And, I will thank my lucky stars everyday that it's simply a 1-year hurdle....and not a lifetime.

I love you, Jayson.  Prepare yourself for a year of reading and videos and pictures.  Because I cannot go a whole year without sharing my life with you.

Happy Traks (to you, Tawnya)

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